Victoria Fringe closed on Sunday, followed on Monday by my moving from Richmond to Vancouver, followed on Tuesday by my tech rehearsal and opening night for Vancouver Fringe. Today I’m typing this out at a dayjob, performing in a Fringe Flame storytelling event this evening, and then both of my Vancouver Fringe shows open tomorrow night! Life keeps running forward. Eventually I hope to buy groceries.
Vancouver is the sixth and final leg in my 2015 summer tour (through Toronto Fringe, then an unfringey stop in Ann Arbor, then Saskatoon Fringe, then Nanaimo Fringe, and then Victoria Fringe), which has kept me more or less away since the end of June. I have much to reflect upon and write about, I’m sure, but reflection is something to be done after the fact! For now, still running around like a silly, silly man.
If you’re at all interested in coming to check out what I’ve been up to, here is some show information for both TITUS and Honest Man in my new home city!
The Most Honest Man In The World is a self-produced personal storytelling show about my life-long obsession with honesty and living life genuinely. If you ever wanted to know far too much about me, here’s your chance. This is the program blurb:
“In this life-long love story about the pursuit of honesty over all happiness, Andrew Wade builds a working lie detector machine and straps himself in. Using stories, music, apps, mementos, and tap shoes, Wade looks at old relationships and insecurities as he tries to learn how to honestly let go. What do you need to let go of?”
I ALSO have spent much of this past year writing the book and lyrics for a commissioned work, TITUS: The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy of Titus Andronicus, being produced by Awkward Stage Productions! In it, I take possibly Shakespeare’s grisliest play and aim to make it… happy! Here’s the program blurb:
BLOOD, GORE, DISMEMBERMENT.
Made you look! Now imagine it all set to music. Shakespeare’s grizzliest play renewed into the giddiest musical, exploring why violence is so darn entertaining. Appalled? Offended? But you know you want to see it. So tap and sing along to TITUS—more than a parody, more than an adaptation—it’s a bloody grand time. World premiere inspired by Monty Python, Conan, ‘90s rock, Parker & Stone, and classic slapstick. TITUS is a dark struggle for power and revenge—but why slit a throat when you can sing and dance right?
Information for both shows is below.
The Most Honest Man In The World
Arts Umbrella, Granville Island,
1286 Cartwright Street
14$ + Fringe Membership
Available online at vancouverfringe.com and at the door.
SHOWTIMES: (show length: 65 minutes)
September 10th (Thurs) – 9:45pm September 15th (Tues) – 8:00pm
September 12th (Sat) – 8:00pm September 17th (Thurs) – 6:15pm
September 13th (Sun) – 1:00pm September 18th (Fri) – 6:15pm
September 13th (Sun) – 9:45pm September 19th (Sat) – 4:30pm
“This is a story about how to figure out the kind of truth that only art can help us understand, the kind we have to search within ourselves to figure out… it’s a wonderful, heartbreaking journey to go on with him.”
TITUS: The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy of Titus Andronicus
Firehall Arts Centre,
280 E Cordova St, Vancouver
14$ + Fringe Membership
Available online at vancouverfringe.com and at the door.
SHOWTIMES: (show length: ~75-90 minutes)
September 10th (Thurs) – 8:00pm September 17th (Thurs) – 10:00pm
September 12th (Sat) – 7:30pm September 18th (Fri) – 5:00pm
September 13th (Sun) – 2:00pm September 19th (Sat) – 7:45pm
September 15th (Tues) – 6:30pm September 20th (Sun) – 2:45pm
Happy to be back home to share my shows with family and friends. Let me know what you think!
So much to do! So much to do! Just keep swimming… just keep swimming…
In the past month and a half I have:
1) performed in two very different showings of BALLS! at the rEvolver Festival,
2) workshopped two separate musicals: Carry On (the show being birthed from the 24 hour SMACKDOWN competition) and TITUS: The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy of Titus Andronicus,
3) acted out several parts of TITUS as part of a public reading for further feedback,
4) officiated my sister’s not-actually-official wedding on an island,
5) Opened The Most Honest Man In The World in an extended 75 minute edition as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival.
Phew. Six more performances here in Toronto to go, as well as preparations for William vs The World in less than a month’s time in Saskatoon, plus more fringe stops in Nanaimo, Victoria, and Vancouver, as well as another TITUS draft sometime in the next couple of weeks.
Now to go handbill some more lines. Wish me luck!
(if you wish to come see The Most Honest Man In The World in Toronto, my facebook event page is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1619597668286790/ and I just received an excellent review from Mooney on Theatre, who called it “engaging, emotional, and oftentimes very funny.” Check out the review here: http://www.mooneyontheatre.com/2015/07/03/the-most-honest-man-in-the-world-spired-theatre-2015-toronto-fringe-review/ )
Advice to Actors: Just Give ‘er. Go all in.
Tomorrow is tech day for Dracula: The Musical1, with an opening performance on Wednesday at Chapel Arts. It is a ridiculous show, a delightful cartoon farce. While I assure you it also has a through-line that makes sense, here is a clip our marvelous director showed us early on, to get us in the mood:
For me, the greatest aspect of working on this show (aside from the marvelous, wonderful people involved), has been being told directly to go as large as I want, to make the big choices, to let myself get carried away. So when I, as Van Helsing, am startled by the sudden emerging of Count Dracula, I can do the somersault backwards and try to swim along the ground to get away. I can be a magniloquent proclaimer. I can prove the superiority of garlic by biting directly into a clove of the stuff.
We, as an ensemble, together with Andy Toth’s brilliantly sophisticated and childlike sense of humour, have built an entire show full of these large and comic moments.
But when discussing the show with others, I am unwilling to call the show ‘over-the-top’. Because it isn’t. Every one of our moments works as an extension of these characters acting in this situation in the kind of world they live in. Believe me, throughout the rehearsal process, we tried many other gags that were over-the-top, that were ‘too much’. How so? Because those gags weren’t honest; they weren’t grounded in the insane-asylum almost-panto-esque world of Dracula: The Musical.
But to have that freedom to just give ‘er, to go all in, to take my character and go DO what I felt like doing in that moment in that scene… not only has that been my favourite aspect of working on this show, but I think that every time I have crafted a great performance, this has been the case. The world of a silly farce and the characters within may vary greatly from Shakespearean heroes or theatresports concoctions. A procedural detective on a television drama won’t flop about the floor like a fish, for example. But I think I am at the point where I can trust in myself enough to let go of the ‘is this too large for screen’ or ‘am I hamming this up enough’ internal directorial comments and just breathe in the scene of that world.
I can trust my instincts and do what I want to do. Try what I want to try. And if it doesn’t work, the director will tell me. But so many of our wonderful moments in this play emerged from someone just doing what felt appropriate in that moment, at that second, as their character. They were rooted in their character and engaging with a ridiculous scene in an appropriately ridiculous manner. And yes, hilarity ensued.
We did an exercise in my final year at UVic where we recorded ourselves reading sides for various television parts. The first time around, cognizant that stage acting won’t directly translate onto a close-up for a camera, I pulled everything in, emotions, emphasis, all of it. The footage came back flat and unremarkable.
Last month, VADA graciously held a free film workshop where we all were given some sides, and had the opportunity to look it over for a few minutes, then get up in front of a camera, and deliver them. And while initially I thought about camera placement and whether or not I should get myself in the mindset of performing for an audience of one (the camera), as I have done many times before, for whatever reason, I went ‘screw it, I’m just going to have fun and be this person as best I can’. And they all loved it. Kept using the word ‘quirky’ over and over again.
There is great power in the idea of just give ‘er. Of going all in. Of being as honest and present as you can, and trusting in your own awareness of the world your character lives in. It’ll only ever be over the top if you’re not engaged with what is going on around you.
I genuinely believe that we have a hilarious, beautiful show here, and I hope you can come out to see it. Feel free to stick around afterwards and say hello. 🙂
1(note: the show is actually titled Dracula: The Musical?, but putting the question mark in every time just wreaks havoc with readability. Also, apparently I can do footnotes on my blog. Be wary. Very wary. For I am a Terry Pratchett fan.)